Create an Emergency Notebook for Organizing Important Papers

May 20, 2021

It’s officially spring here, we already had the first tornado of the season. Just some minor damage on the outskirts of town, but it makes a person think about getting important papers organized and grab-able in an emergency.

Here’s a list of the types of documents that would be useful in various emergencies.
The paperwork you would need varies based on different types of situations.

Some people want to be organized in the event of their death, so a family member would know where to find things. Others want to organize a to-go notebook that you would need in a weather emergency like an earthquake, hurricane, fire or tornado, depending on what part of the country you’re in.

In a perfectly-organized world, you’d keep all these documents in a handy notebook, customized based on the type of emergency you’re planning for. With the complexity of our clients’ lives, many find that getting all of their emergency information and documents into one notebook is too ambitious. It might make sense to think about a password-protected online or electronic version, for saving space and easy access.

To get started, here are some of the documents and information that would be useful, no matter the reason for the notebook:

  • Identification (copies of)
    • Drivers’ licenses, passports, etc.
    • Health Insurance cards
    • Social Security cards
    • Birth and marriage certificates
    • Military documents
  • Important Contacts – names, phone numbers, email addresses
    • Insurance agent
    • Physicians
    • Veterinarian
    • Family & friends
    • Neighbors
    • Financial planner
    • Investment managers
    • Trust Officers
    • Bankers
    • Attorneys
    • CPA
  • Financial Information
    • Balance Sheet of all assets and liabilities

In Case of Sickness or Death information

  • All of the above, plus
    • Keys to safe deposit boxes
    • Account and device passwords
    • Powers of Attorney
    • End of Life directives
    • Funeral preferences
    • List of life insurance policies, where they’re stored
    • Location of other important documents

In Case of an Evacuation Emergency

  • All of the above, plus
    • Recent photos of every family member & pet in case you’re separated.
    • Keys to all properties, cars, etc.

Do you know where property deeds and car titles are?

Do you have digital copies of important documents and family keepsakes? You may want to scan the important things.

Do you have a backup of your computers?

A video inventory of all your household possessions? Walk through the house, opening drawers and doors so you could remember what you had.

Gun owners will want to research the types of paperwork they should keep handy according to the State and Federal laws.

This is a starting point; you may think of more as you start pulling information together.